you're dropping them off at gymnastics class, standing on
the sidelines during football practice, or cheering them on
during a soccer game, proud parents everywhere know how involved
children are in sports these days. More and more children
are participating in athletics, often starting at a very young
Evidence suggests that children who resistance train can
improve motor skills and reduce the risk of injury during
athletics, although the exact recommendations (i.e., number
of exercises and repetitions to be performed) have not yet
In a study published in the online version of Pediatrics,
43 boys and girls were divided into three groups for eight
weeks: an exercise group that performed 1 set of 6-8 repetitions
with a heavy weight; a second exercise group that performed
1 set of 13-15 repetitions with a moderate weight; and a control
group that did not resistance train at all.
The children exercised twice a week using various exercise
machines, and after eight weeks, strength and muscular endurance
were measured using leg extension and chest press exercises.
The researchers found that not only did both exercise groups
show greater gains than the control group, but that the high-repetition/moderate-weight
approach was more effective than the low-repetition/heavy-weight
If your children are involved in athletics, encourage them
to adopt a moderate, consistent program of resistance exercise.
But don't just hand them a set of weights and say "go
for it." Teach your children the safe, effective way
to train. If youčre not sure what to do or would just like
more information, ask a health care professional.
Faigenbaum AD, Westcott WL, LaRosa Loud R, et al. The effects
of different resistance training protocols on muscular strength
and endurance development in children. Pediatrics (online
July 1999: Vol. 104, No. 1, ppe5.